As far as I’m concerned, singer songwriter Jim Lauderdale can do no wrong. Not with his velvety smooth honkytonk voice, not with his poetic, pathos-filled-yet-still-hopeful lyrics, and certainly not with his old school, southern fried, Manuel-style fashion choices. And the fact that he was born in a town called Troutman, North Carolina? Well, it just writes itself, doesn’t it. What a great name for a town! And in the Tarheel state no less. (Go Heels, by the way. No comment on Kendall Marshall, it’s just too upsetting.)
In my younger years I would devour the liner notes on a cassette or CD cover and Jim Lauderdale was listed everywhere as songwriter for some of my favorite tunes. He penned humdingers for Kelly Willis, George Strait, Patty Loveless. He sang backup vocals for Dwight Yoakam.
He and Tanya Tucker recorded a cover of Buck Owens’ “Love’s Gonna Live Here” (one of my all time favorites to play on the jukebox in Uncle Joe’s bar in Craig MT) and nailed it. But Lauderdale isn’t just a supporting character. He has his own highly acclaimed albums, part country, part bluegrass, all soulful. To keep things really diverse, he plays in the sandbox with the jam band scene as well. I guess that’s the bluegrass bridge.
Before we had the Internet and immediate answers to lingering questions I often wondered if he was the same Jim Lauderdale that taught my 7th grade English class. Lumbering Monsieur Lauderdale was cross eyed – practically blind in fact – and puttered to school on a moped way before Vespas made that look look hip.
Of course years later (once I had a visual of Jim Lauderdale the artiste) I confirmed that the two Jim Jims are indeed not the same. Our boy Jim Lauderdale is smoother than a French exhale.
Sorry, but is he rocking a pair of fuchsia pants with a racing stripe down the side? Oh, you got that right. Fabulous. With a floral shirt. Love it. And I totally dig the hairstyle, it’s part bouffant, part long hippie. But of course we can’t ignore the main attraction…that voice. Like melted butter on a warm roll with a beer back.
Ah, reminds me of life in Troutman.
Okay, so I’ve never been to Troutman, NC in reality, but in my mind it’s a cool town with free chicken biscuits on every corner and a world class dive bar. (And a trout stream nearby.)
Jim Lauderdale is a fixture at the annual Springfest Music Festival in Live Oak Florida. The first year we went I came face to face with Lauderdale after his show and completely froze. I was so awestruck I couldn’t utter a peep. Two years later I was determined to get another shot. Emboldened my my friend Leah’s effortless confidence, we managed to get a picture with him.
Love the black shirt too, Jim. But I think I am partial to the orange outfit. Ooh, but those fuchsia pants. Damn, he makes it hard to choose.
I can’t wait to see what he’s sporting at Springfest this weekend. I tweeted about my Springfest excitement a few weeks ago and much to my DELIGHT…nay THRILL…drumroll….are you ready for this…whew…
…Jim Lauderdale retweeted me. I have proof.
I realize that Social Media sounds a lot like Social Needier but I don’t care. My self esteem soared. My identity was instantaneously reshaped. Let’s face it, cool is contagious people and my stock just went up.
Now I’m not the only one who’s a big Jim Lauderdale fan. Filmmaker Jeremy Dylan is making a documentary about Lauderdale’s life, called Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts. He’s still raising money for the project so if you have some spare change and a song in your heart, why not support a struggling artist trying to get a good story out there?
If you need a little inspiration, how about some Jim Lauderdale tunes. Here he is at the Station Inn in Nashville performing my favorite Lauderdale song, Chances.
There’s an old friend, on my shoulder
Whispering in my ear
And an angel on the other
Who won’t tell me what I want to hear
Kills me every time. How can you not love this honkytonk poet? Great song, great lyrics, great voice. I hope he plays that song this weekend.
That’s all for now friends. Am off to Live Oak Florida early in the morning. While I am gone, feel free to browse posts from previous Springfests, there’s some good music here.
Spirit of the Suwanee — Springfest 2008
Manskirts – Herd of Em? — Springfest 2010
Getting a Little Springfest Back in My Step — Springfest 2011
Catch you on the flipside…